Hurricane Francis is hitting the Bahamas

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Sep 2nd, 2004, 02:29 PM
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Hurricane Francis is hitting the Bahamas

As of 5pm Hurricane force winds are already in the Bahamas, electricity has gone out on several islands and the full force of the storm is not expected until 8pm tonight.

This is going to be a VERY BAD storm and the full force is expected to hit Nassau and Grand Bahama with extensive damage.

If you would like to make a donation to Hurricane Relief, please let me know and I can get you information on where they can be sent.

This is very close to a category V storm, so damage will be very bad, remember what Hurricane Andrew did to Florida? Something like $20Billion. That same storm went over Harbour Island, and took every blade of grass, every leaf, everything green, and did some damage to buildings, but NO loss of life. The folks in the Bahamas sure take these storms very seriously. Most of the homes on the island date back to the late 1700's - early 1900's they sure made them to stand.

Let me know if you have any questions and I will see if I can get some answers.

More info directly from the island can be found at www.briland.com. Local islanders have SAT phones and are calling in reports.
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Sep 2nd, 2004, 07:36 PM
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For those who like the Abacos, the message board is down, but they have a back up in Florida I believe. I retrieved this message from Great Guana Cay, a 7-mile long cay off of Abaco. Troy is the owner of a dive operation on Guana:
"Just talked to Troy from Dive Guana at 7:30pm. He said everyone is as prepared as possible and praying for a further shift to the west. At present most are at Easy's making emotional preparations and morall is good! Phones are still working however email is as we know is down for the count. Some wind but so far nothing too serious. Best guess is Sandy Point will take a hard hit with full moon at High tide. Prayers for them !!!

Let's all pray for them. Apparently, the eye went right over San Salvador. My wife and I were on San Sal during the 1992 hurricane...no fun! Give us the details on the Hurrican Relief Project, wantsomesun. The elementary schools on the Abaco's, particularly the all-age school on Guana and in Hopetown were devastated. Their windows and roofs were blown off, textbooks destroyed by rain, etc. Robert
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Sep 2nd, 2004, 07:56 PM
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Hi gang,

Well the storm is in full force as I write this but the good news is that the eyewall seems to be decaying and the storm is slowing a bit, which means that some of the punch is also leaving the storm. That's the good news.

As of 7pm, the beach on Harbour Island was seriously eroded by the storm and those that know the island know the dock on Eleuthera that faces Harbour Island, it's low tide and the entire dock area is under water.

Glass Window on Eleuthera is reporting 30 foot waves crashing, and all traffic is halted and a storm like this usually damages the bridge, so I would expect it to be out for a while.

The last major storm that hit the Bahamas stayed over Eleuthera for over 16 hours and did a tremendous amount of damage

It was reported that electricity has been off since around noon on Harbour Island, don't know about Eleuthera but my guess would be they are also without power.

I was involved the last hurricane, Robert in getting the Ambulance to Ababco in conjunction with support from the Bahamas Consulate, and I am sure hoping Abaco won't need to use it.

I am sure there will be a fund set up for anyone wanting to donate, it can be done throught the www.briland.com website.

I spoke to the Consulate General at the Bahamas Consulate yesterday to volunteer any help they might need. Again, the last storm we did a major fund raiser and in one evening raised over $50,000 in donations for Hurricane Relief. There was also a company in Germany that got intouch with me and donated $1 Million Dollars so I am sure we are going to need all the help that's available after this storm as well.

Supplies will be flown and boated over to the Bahamas as soon as the storm is over and the planes are able to fly again.

Robert, please keep us posted on Abaco and let me know if there is anything I can do to help.

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Sep 4th, 2004, 04:23 AM
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For those who visit the Bahamas,or will be, here's kind of a blow-by-blow description of different places throughout the archipelago. It's an update off of the Abaco Message Board back up system, from cell phone call-ins, short-wave radio, etc.If you want to check on what happened to a place you vacationed in, or will be, you can scan these messages until you find it.:

FRANCES SLOWLY APPROACHING GRAND BAHAMA ISLAND......HIGH WINDS AND HEAVY RAINFALL CONTINUE TO RAKE THE
NORTHWESTERN BAHAMAS...

THE CENTER OF HURRICANE FRANCES WAS LOCATED NEAR LATITUDE 26.1 NORTH...LONGITUDE 77.8 WEST OR ABOUT 70 MILES...110 KM...EAST-SOUTHEAST OF FREEPORT GRAND BAHAMA ISLAND.

MAXIMUM SUSTAINED WINDS ARE NEAR 105 MPH...165 KM/HR...WITH HIGHER
GUSTS. THIS MAKES FRANCES A STRONG CATEGORY TWO HURRICANE. SOME
FLUCTUATIONS IN INTENSITY ARE POSSIBLE DURING THE NEXT 24 HOURS.

HURRICANE FORCE WINDS EXTEND OUTWARD UP TO 110 MILES...175 KM...
FROM THE CENTER...AND TROPICAL STORM FORCE WINDS EXTEND OUTWARD UP
TO 200 MILES...325 KM. A SUSTAINED WIND OF 81 MPH WAS RECENTLY
REPORTED ON NORTH ELEUTHERA ISLAND. DURING THE PAST HOUR...HAM
RADIO OPERATORS AT HOPETOWN ON ABACO ISLAND REPORTED WIND SUSTAINED
WINDS OF 69 MPH WITH GUSTS TO 81 MPH AT HOPETOWN. THE SETTLEMENT
POINT C-MAN STATION ON WESTERN GRAND BAHAMA ISLAND RECENTLY REPORTED A SUSTAINED WIND OF 59 MPH WITH A GUST TO 75 MPH...WHILE A SUSTAINED WIND OF 44 MPH WITH A GUST TO 52 MPH WERE REPORTED AT THE LAKE WORTH FLORIDA C-MAN STATION.

A SHIP IN MARSH HARBOR RECENTLY REPORTED A PRESSURE OF 960 MB.

STORM SURGE FLOODING OF 5 TO 12 FEET ABOVE NORMAL TIDE LEVELS...
ALONG WITH DANGEROUS BATTERING WAVES...CAN BE EXPECTED NEAR THE EYE
OF FRANCES ON THE NORTH SIDE OF GRAND BAHAMA ISLAND. STORM SURGE
FLOODING OF 3 TO 5 FEET ABOVE NORMAL TIDE LEVELS CAN BE EXPECTED ON
THE WEST SIDE OF THE OTHER ISLANDS OF THE BAHAMAS. COASTAL STORM SURGE FLOODING OF 4 TO 5 FEET ABOVE NORMAL TIDE LEVELS...ALONG WITH LARGE AND DANGEROUS BATTERING WAVES...CAN BE EXPECTED NEAR AND TO THE NORTH OF WHERE THE CENTER MAKES LANDFALL IN FLORIDA.

RAINFALL AMOUNTS OF 7 TO 12 INCHES...LOCALLY AS HIGH AS 20 INCHES...ARE POSSIBLE IN ASSOCIATION WITH FRANCES OVER THE BAHAMAS.

News and Information for Harbour Island & North Eleuthera, Bahamas
[It's much better in the Out Islands.] - Coordinates: 25?30'N 76?38'W
Things get better now. Still a;lot of wind, now coming from the South West. Still some risks of surge on the South now.

I've heard many things about the local situation, but at that point it's hard to precisely know the extent of the damages. One thing is now sure: we've been very lucky!!!

Some roads might be damaged / flooded; It'll be probably hard to citculate around the island tomorrow. We're getting some rain, which should continue for some more hours / days ?
I believe everyone is safe and in good health, apart from this one death reported earlier.

The Prognosis: Frances has been affecting the central and north western Bahamas for the past 24 hours and is not expected to clear the area for another 24 hours. The Central Bahamas will gradually clear this evening into tonight as the hurricane warning for that area has been discontinued by the National
Hurricane Centre.

The Situation - BAHAMAS
***********************
Several islands of The Bahamas are still experiencing hurricane force and
tropical storm force winds at 5:00 pm.

Nassau ? one person is confirmed dead. An 18-year old was outside in the height of the hurricane attempting to service a standby generator and was
electrocuted. Roof of shelter at Bethsheda United Missionary Baptist Church caved in. People safely moved to neighbours.

San Salvador ? Hurricane Frances battered this island with 140 mph winds for 30 hours. 15 to 20 per cent of the housing stock has been damaged. Population is 1,000 people. Widespread environmental damage with fallen trees, power lines and utility poles ? much of which was cleared for initial damage assessment. Health care facility is in good condition. A doctor, nurse, and official of the
Bahamian Defence Force were pre-positioned and are assisting residents. All tourists at Club Med were evacuated and the hotel, which is empty, sustained roofing damage.

New Providence is the headquarters of the Emergency Operations Centre of the
National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) - At 5 pm tropical storm force
conditions were still affecting the island and expect to subside tomorrow.
Initial reports of environmental damage and storm surge affecting coastal areas and cutting off coastal roads. Some homes have been flooded but assessment is difficult this evening.

Acklins Island ? Sustained damage to a marine docking facility and other
coastal damage from battering waves.

Acklins/Crooked Island/Long Cay - No major damage. Two Haitian boat people
detained.

Eleuthera ? Winds in excess of 100 mph affected the island. Storm force
conditions still affecting the island. Power is out.

Harbour ? Power out after island affected with winds in excess of 100 mph. Storm surge and inland flooding reported. All evacuation shelters are occupied. No reports of injury or death. Roads are impassable. Minor damage to health clinic roof.

Inagua - Two vessels damaged.

Mayaguana ? Road infrastructure damage. No loss of life. Power should be restored by tonight or tomorrow morning.

Long Island ? No damage

Exuma - Weather conditions improving. Water supplies restored.

Black Point ? Telecommunications down.

Farmer?s Cay ? Telecommunications down.

North Eleuthera - Winds reported in excess of 100 mph. Power out. Fibre optic cable from North and South Eleuthera broken? no land-based contact with Spanish Wells.

Central Eleuthera ? No electricity and telecommunications down. No contact with the island.

South Eleuthera ? Tropical storm force conditions still exist. Damage
assessment not possible at this time.

North Andros ? Tropical storm force conditions still exist. One property
reported damaged. Full assessment not possible at this time.

Central Andros ? No known damage. Weather conditions mild.

South Andros / Mangrove Cay ? No reported problems

Nassau International Airport - Heavy winds. Bahamasair Holdings Office roof and front portion was torn off making it accessible to the public. Airport Security is stationed at the site.

Berry Islands ? Heavy rains continuing. Assessment not possible at this time.

Abaco ? Winds becoming strong. 250 persons in public shelters.

East Grand Bahama ? Winds becoming stronger. About 130 persons in public
shelters.

West Grand Bahama ? Weather is good. 240 persons in public shelters.

Freeport Grand Bahama - Winds are picking up, continues to rain. 700 persons in public shelters.

Ragged Island ? No reported damage to any critical infrastructure.

Bimini / Cat Cay - Winds 35-40 mph. Four shelters are operational. No
significant damage, some fallen tree limbs.


A nice lady called in to the news team from her home in Eleuthera: getting the eye right now at 7:30a ? everyone
is inside, everyone is fine right now ? preparing for the worst, but
wanting everyone to know that everyone is fine and safe inside and waiting
the storm out. North Eleuthera/Harbour Island are reporting intense 120 mph winds -- South Eleuthera winds beginning to intensify as the eye passes north.

The eye is over Central Eleuthera at this moment ... the general sentiment
of everyone calling in from the Out Islands this morning to discuss their
various situation ** flooding and high winds in Long Island, houses damaged
in San Salvador, electricity and Internet access and cable out in Abaco, high winds in Cat Island ** is that of relief that things aren't worse.
Posted by:
Sep 3rd 2004, 02:17:12 am
Fig Tree News Team
Storm thankfully weakens to a Category 3 storm, with a more diffuse core,
currently lingering about 40 miles south of Eleuthera.

07:44:02 am
South Bar reports that the Harbour Island has been continually pounded with wind and rain since last night at 9, and it looks as though the eye is
going over Spanish Wells in a couple of hours. There is no electricity but
phones are presently working. The tide is going down so hopefully the surge
will be less as the tide is down. The consensus to date is that Frances is
not as bad a storm as Andrew but more in the line of Floyd.

James Cistern just reported a few minutes ago that they're right in the
middle of the eye (7:50a) ... and Warren Miller of Hatchet Bay called in
this morning just to commend the ZNS 1 coverage countrywide. He says that
things got rough last night, but Hatchet Bay folks ** unlike Governor's
Harbour or James Cistern [or Harbour Island, for that matter, where the Vic
Hum was packed from 5:00p forward !] ** were staying inside and pretty
well packed down for the storm -- so far so good.

09:37:13 am Kif Brown
Just spoke with Sheril Saunders. People are out walking around while the
eye passes. Understand Cookie[?s garage] has sustained significant roof damage.

09:50:46 am
Robert Arthur notes "from the eye" at 9:30s ESTeach did "remarkably well" even the tiki huts at Coral Sands still up, and not too much erosion -- as far as they could tell from north of Pink Sands down to about Runaway Hill Club. Bayside, water up to top of the wall, and lapping over the street, but that's it now. Not over government dock. In the village, vegetation damage is about the extent of it, for now. When the eye passes, westerly winds from the rest of this storm will complete the story. Phone and power lines still up, some sagging, but in good shape generally. Bracing now for the other half.....
09:50:55 am
Goombayboy posted:
Eye of Frances over Harbour Island at 9:30am. Eye lasted 90 min in
Governers Harbour. Governers reported worse winds after eye. Some roofs on
Harbour are damaged, many trees down so far.

10:05:01 am Bahama Sharon posts:
On NBC at 7:25 this AM, Friday, Michael Higgs gave a telephone interview and reported that at the moment the winds were 75 mph. Some roofs are gone and trees down but he was fine and so were his golf carts. The roof was off of the pre school. The backside of the storm was just approaching. He wished the people of Florida well as Hurricane Frances heads our way.

At about 11:30a EST, the backside of the storm winds started to kick in off
Harbour Island, which means that local news may be somewhat minimal over
the next several hours.

Michael Pratt posts:
2PM-Jill Lorey reports eye passed 2-3 hours ago. They still have sustained
winds around 100mph+. Cookie & Kathy Ross' roof was OK whne last checked.
They are w/ Lorey's @ Fig Tree watching the yard disappear. Power out, but phones still OK. The worst is over.

ROBERT
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Sep 4th, 2004, 05:14 AM
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Thank you SO much Robert, for the update. I haven't been able to get the image of Frances raking through the Bahamas out of my mind, and it's really good to hear things have not been as bad as many feared they might be thus far.

Of course, the islands are not out of the woods yet, but it helps to hear from people who are there that they are OK.

I have friends in the TCI, and agonized over their safety until I heard from them.

Thanks again Robert!
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Sep 4th, 2004, 06:17 AM
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Thank you Robert for the info. If anyone has more info on how Bimini fared/is faring, please update. Thanks
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Sep 4th, 2004, 10:54 AM
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Tully; I had called Chalk's Airlines and Keefe's Bimin Undersea scuba diving operation. Bimini is AOK; they had lots of downpours and lightning storms, but no deaths or injuries. The power is out, except for telephone service which was just reinstated. One old building in town had the roof cave in, but no injuries. No significant structural damage elsewhere on Bimini. Robert
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Sep 4th, 2004, 03:40 PM
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Thank you so, so much Robert for that info. I know San Salvador got hit especially hard & was worried about little Bimini.
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Sep 5th, 2004, 11:58 AM
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Any specifics on Cat Island?
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Sep 5th, 2004, 01:43 PM
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Here's the only info I got on Cat: "Cat Island - No water, no light, broken gas lines. Environmental damage." Robert
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Sep 6th, 2004, 06:19 AM
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Tnanks, Robert. Greatly appreciate your assistance. Anything further on Crooked Island?
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Sep 6th, 2004, 09:41 AM
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Haven't heard a whole lot about Crooked or Acklins Islands. They interviewed Alfred Gray, Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries: "Satellite phones reported winds up to 120 mph with a 15-foot storm surge on Mayaguana, "major wind" on Crooked Island and road damage on Acklins Island. The hurricane brushed past Crooked Island and Acklins Island - home to about 1,100 people - late Thursday, knocking out power and phones but doing only minimal damage.
People in other low-lying areas were urged to evacuate." Is there any part of Crooked Island that isn't low lying? Well, get ready for Hurricane Ivan; it's reported at 150 mph winds and is heading their way. Good luck to them. Their buildings are mostely cement and hard rock structures; they know all about hurricanes. They will make it. Robert
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Sep 6th, 2004, 09:56 AM
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Robert,

Thanks for the updated info... I'm curious if the road up to White Sound on Elbow Cay still exists after Frances... hoping that they are fine on that end of the island.
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Sep 6th, 2004, 03:12 PM
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Haven't heard anything about Elbow Cay after Francis passed on through. Can't believe Ivan is following. But, the Bahamas had three back-to-back hurricanes before. They rebuilt and remodeled the all-age school on Elbow after the last bout. They'll survive! Robert
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Sep 6th, 2004, 03:45 PM
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Robert thank you so much for the updated info. The Bahamas are very lucky the storm was not as bad as predicted.

For more info The Nassau Guardian the newspaper out of Nassau is now online and you might also check there for more info it's located at www.thenassauguardian.com.

Again, thanks Robert for all the work you did during the storm to keep us all updated.
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Sep 6th, 2004, 05:04 PM
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I'll look up the Nassau Guardian; thanks wantsomesun. Robert
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Sep 6th, 2004, 06:32 PM
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Thanks for the information that you have posted, We have several friends in Spanish Wells & Bluff, N. Eluthera. Have you heard anything about these areas?
Thanks,
Bob
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Sep 7th, 2004, 07:49 AM
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Wantsomesun & Robert: Thank you for posting all that information. I've been in California visiting my brother. I was using his labtop to read all your postings but didn't log on since his connection was sooo slow.
My husband and I are still trying to figure whether we should go to Harbour Island (in 3 weeks). Pink Sands is currently shut down for at least 2 weeks. They told us they should get a damage assessment today (I talked to their office in Miami). I'll let you guys know what they tell me.
I've read the postings on briland.com but haven't really seen anything on N. Eleuthera's airport which is where we're supposed to land.
Anyways, thanks again for all your postings.
 
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Sep 7th, 2004, 08:31 AM
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Check with your airline because they will have the most up to date information. There isn't much at N. Eleuthera airport other than the "terminal", which is a small building. The runway is pretty easy to clean up, so pending damage to the building the airport should be open very quickly.

Harbour Island had alot of damage to trees, greenery, and a few of the buildings got some damage a few roofs gone, but no loss of life or serious injury. Harbour Island buildings are so solidly built that it's quite amazing not more damage is done.

Check with Pink Sands to see if they are going to reopen or if they need more time to recover from the storm,,,,,oh and by the way it looks like Hurricane IVAN is heading that way too.
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Sep 7th, 2004, 04:28 PM
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Wantsomesun: I did talk to Continental and Pink Sands today. Continental has canceled its flights for the next 2 days. They're taking it day by day for now.
As for Pink Sands, they still don't have an official assessment. A manager is heading there tomorrow with a sat phone to check out everything.
So we'll just have to be a bit more patient.
 
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